There are no words to describe how good Disney’s “Luca” was (well there are, as you’ll see in this article). It was difficult not to go into this with low expectations because everything about the trailer just screamed high quality and incredible content. With an amazing storyline and top notch voice acting, “Luca” is one you don’t want to miss. Let me throw you my sales pitch.
“Luca” is the story of a young sea monster who only knows of life under the sea. He works as a shepherd for his family until one day he finds artifacts from the “land monsters” that had fallen into the water. There he meets Alberto, another sea monster who ventures above the water (a forbidden idea to Luca’s family in which it turns a sea creature into a human) and lives on his own in an abandoned lighthouse. Luca finally musters the courage to journey above the water and soon finds himself on a quest to find a Vespa with Alberto. Once they visit a small town, Portorosso, they enter a race alongside of a human named Giulia, in hopes to win enough money to buy a Vespa.
Let’s dive into the complexity of the film before anything else. What I love about this is that it’s just kids being kids. It’s simply two boys making summer memories together. There’s no evil villain. No big scheme involved. It’s just a wholesome movie about kids getting into hijinks and being silly together. It was so refreshing to see a relaxing movie where there was no big plot with a shock factor. Simply put, it’s a movie about differences – having to hide who you really are from society because you’re scared they might not accept you. And this absolutely resonates with both youth and adults alike. There’s also some queer undertones to it, but it doesn’t explicitly show it on screen. At its core, the movie is a lesson about finding yourself, accepting yourself as who you are, and about parenting while still being kid friendly.
As a sucker for animation and visual aesthetics, the animation and artwork for this film is stunning. Everything from the reflections on the water to the clouds in the sky is gorgeous. The icing on the proverbial cake is when we get glimpses of Luca’s imagination as he envisions what things might look like. For example, when he dreams of a Vespa he sees them as wild creatures frolicking in a meadow of yellow flowers. Or when Giulia is telling him about the planet Saturn, he sees himself running along the rings of it. Both daytime and nighttime in Portorosso are gorgeous to look at as well. While the streets during the day are bustling with locals, at night it gives off a chill and quiet ambience (as seen below) but equally as beautiful as it’s daytime counterpart. The character designs are just as good looking as the environment. Nobody looks the same. Every character, including background ones, all have their own unique look to them. Even the sea creatures all have their own design which I thought was a brilliant choice. Viewers won’t be disappointed by the animation and will find themselves immersed in the world that the film created.
After seeing “Luca”, it left me feeling good and reminiscent of my own childhood; how I’d used to go on adventures with my friends as a kid. How we went swimming together and played in the woods. Times were simpler back then. As an adult, we tend to lose that part of ourselves as we get older. There are some who manage to hold onto their inner child forever. Others aren’t as lucky. So seeing this movie reminded me of all the good times I had growing up and how I wish I could go back and relive them again.
If you can, I highly recommend you watch this movie. Not only will it leave you feeling nostalgic about your youth, but it’ll also encourage youth to dream big and never be ashamed of who they are.
Luca is now available to stream on Disney+.